The Whitworth, Manchester
THE WHITWORTH / UNIVERSITY OF MANCHESTER | Oxford Road
M15 6ER Manchester
artists & participants
Uneasy and disoriented visitors to Gregor Schneider’s Kinderzimmer will find themselves groping their way into the blacked-out space of the usually sunlit South Gallery of The Whitworth Art Gallery, moving toward an eerily lit nursery. The children’s rooms have been recovered from a village in Schneider’s Rhineland home, erased to make way for opencast mining. Commissioned by The Whitworth for the exhibition Subversive Spaces, this is the most significant UK installation by this celebrated artist, winner of the Golden Lion in Venice in 2001, since his Die Familie Schneider in London’s East End in 2004.
Visitors find their experience of space further challenged in the remainder of Subversive Spaces. The exhibition examines the legacy of the surrealist project in two distinct areas. The first ‘Psychic Interiors’, uses themes of psychic disturbance – anxiety and hysteria – to explore the constraining spaces of the home. ‘Wandering the City’ follows the Surrealists’ preoccupation with walking around the streets as a means to discover hidden social spaces as well as unconscious fears and desires.
In too-small rooms, pieces of furniture by Mona Hatoum, Tony Oursler and Sarah Lucas threaten to crush, copulate and kill while Markus Schinwald and Douglas Gordon’s bodies writhe and contort in hysterical poses. Nightmarish journeys of the sleepwalker round the bedroom end up in the streets of the city where Rainer Ganahl’s playfully suicidal cyclists ride against New York traffic. Wastelands and ruins, sewers and subways: the hidden organs of the city’s body are exposed.
Max Ernst’s collaged fantasies of rabbits, monkeys, beds and bedrooms present the surrealist vision of the domestic interior as a space for disturbance and disorder, while Magritte reminds us that things are rarely what they seem. The legacy of these subversions is found in Robert Gober’s dismembered leg protruding from the wall; the waxy sheen of the mortuary slab replicated on the sitting room floor. Through tunnels and cut-away buildings the works move out from the home and into the city. Photographs of a Paris long since destroyed confront our modern journeys through the urban landscape, pausing only to examine spaces of dereliction, dirt and disuse. Tracing affinities between the surrealist past and the subversive present the exhibition explores the spaces where we don’t want to find ourselves and records what happens when we do. It challenges our real and imaginary perceptions of our environment bringing together painting, sculpture, installation, photography, video and film by artists such as René Magritte, Salvador Dalí, Max Ernst and Brassaï as well as contemporary artists including Sarah Lucas, Tony Oursler, Robert Gober, Douglas Gordon and Francis Alÿs.
Artists in Subversive Spaces: Surrealism and Contemporary Art
Surrealists: Dorothea Tanning, Claude Cahun, Salvador Dalí, Max Ernst, René Magritte, Hans Bellmer, Dora Maar, Jacques-André Boiffard, Brassaï, Giorgio De Chirico, Eugene Atget, Humphrey Spender, Henri Michaux
Contemporary: Lucy Gunning, Anna Gaskell, Sarah Lucas, Douglas Gordon, Markus Schwinwald, Paula Rego, Francesca Woodman, Robert Gober, Mona Hatoum, William Anastasi,Tony Oursler, Ralph Rumney, Katie Holten, Francis Alÿs
Subversive Spaces: Surrealism and Contemporary Art
With Kinderzimmer a major new commission
by Gregor Schneider
Künstler: Dorothea Tanning, Claude Cahun, Salvador Dalí, Max Ernst, René Magritte, Hans Bellmer, Dora Maar, Jacques-Andre Boiffard, Brassaï, Giorgio De Chirico, Eugène Atget, Humphrey Spender, Henri Michaux, Lucy Gunning, Anna Gaskell, Sarah Lucas, Douglas Gordon, Markus Schinwald, Gregor Schneider, Paula Rego, Francesca Woodman, Robert Gober, Mona Hatoum, William Anastasi, Tony Oursler, Ralph Rumney, Katie Holten, Francis Alÿs, Rainer Ganahl ...